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For the past 70+ years, Kangol has been the go-to brand for bucket hats. From icons like LL Cool J to todays ScHool Boy Q’s, buckets have become more than a statement in the Hip Hop industry to more of a statement. In a sense, the hat you wear represent what music you listen to and the lifestyle you live. We spoke to the head designer, Nic Harris, about her history & impact at Kangol and how he keeps the brand relevant in todays industry. Read what she had to say below.

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1.How have the designs changed since the early Kangol days to today?

We are always innovating with new techniques or fabrics to keep the designs fresh.  I’ve introduced modern environmentally aware yarns like recycled Polyester made from water bottles or Viscose made from Bamboo.   There are parameters involved in making a true Kangol hat, they are always knitted & there is a steam blocking process used to form the shape of the hats.  It’s similar to making sneakers in the fact that each shape & size requires its own mold.   So within these restrictions I use technology to create new designs or invent techniques for new concepts like seamless texture knits or 2-Tone hat.

2. How do you keep the designs of the Kangol bucket hat relevant?

There are many different ways to do this, adding prints, new colors or changing the dimensions to modernize the silhouette.  Also introducing different types of bucket shapes, our most famous is the Bermuda Casual as worn by LL Cool J but this is more of a Bell than a bucket because of the round shape of Crown.

3. What is your inspiration behind the Spring/Summer collection?

We looked towards the future & the possibilities of a Dark vs Bright Future that the planet is facing.  For both futures we looked at what is happening to world & how climate change is impacting the planet.  Dark Future is the post apocalyptic world of movies like Blade Runner & Terminator while Bright Future is using technology to solve the problems we face & the creation of new tribes that live together in harmony.


4. What do you think is the reason bucket hats are such a staple in hip-hop?

When Hip Hop began it was by hustlers who were extremely creative with entrepreneurial spirit & inventors of sound.  This spirit also created the need to stand out & to set trends by wearing different clothing to everyone else.  This was done by adopting pieces originally designed for a different purpose & gave it a new life.  These trendsetters took the bucket hat that was originally designed as a fishing or golf style hat  & wore it in a completely new way. I feel this spirit is still alive in Hip Hop today, which is constantly evolving.  I believe that fashion & style give Hip Hop a visual music history & clothes like sneakers or hats will always be an essential part of the culture.Run-DMC___posse_-______j_beckman

5. What are some of your favorite pieces you’ve designed?

That’s a very tricky question, I can pick a favorite from each season but I’ve been designing the hats since 1997 so to pick an all time favorite is almost impossible, its like trying to chose your favorite song.  My favs from SS14 are the Sound Wave knit 575 & the Bolted Pork Pie.  My most memorable pieces would be the first 2 styles I designed during my first week working for Kangol, they were both structural pull-ons with square tops made from a Japanese Space Dyed Boucle.   The one I am most proud of is the 507 cap that is now almost as popular as the original 504 cap.  It was inspired by combining the fit of a Baseball hat with a 504 cap.

– Shenae Craig (@xCurry08)

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